Taser Foundation Ride for Fallen Officers
The second event that MyRideIsMe.com participated in leading up to Arizona Bikeweek was a charity ride by Taser Foundation. Each year they run “Takin’ the Ride”, to raise funds to assist the families of officers that are lost in the line of duty. 100% of proceeds go to the families, so you can be sure that you are giving directly to someone who needs it.
This year, the third annual ride, started a Euromotorsport in Scottsdale, Arizona. At 8 AM we arrived to see about 50 bikes already lined up outside of the BMW dealer. Next to the first row of motorcycles was the “Drive to Remember” Hummer H3 that would lead the groups out to start the day long ride. This H3 is participating in many events across the country during the next few months to increase awareness of officers killed in the line of duty. More information can be found at www.drive2remember.org .
Since we were early to registration, we got to kill some time looking around at all the bikes and watching the Police show their handiwork with their BMW police bikes. Never let anyone complain about not being able to complete the left hand U-Turn in their motorcycle riders test at the DMV. These guys would go from lock to lock doing figure eights in an area about twice as long as their motorcycles. I guess that is what comes with riding a motorcycle as part of your job everyday!
At a little past 10 AM we took off in four groups to begin a long trip around the east valley of Phoenix from Scottsdale to McDowell mountain, through Fountain Hills to Ft. McDowell Casino, down the Beeline Highway to Mesa and Apache Junction, back up the Salt River Canyon to Saguaro Lake and back to Scottsdale and Greasewood Flat. In all we racked up about 200 miles on the Honda Magna and Harley Sportster.
Being more of a sportbike guy, I’m not used to riding in very large, slow and tightly packed groups. So this was a bit of a new experience. It gives you a good opportunity to enjoy the weather and the scenery and the blaring radio from the full dress Harley riding next to you. I didn’t even know that motorcycles came with radios! You learn something new every day.
As we rode out of town, led by the H3, we ran through nearly every red light in North Scottsdale. It’s a good thing it was early on Sunday morning because the cagers were not very happy and kept trying to pull into the group. (Like the old man in the black Lincoln that nearly hit half a dozen riders in his effort to go through the intersection even though there were still scores of bikes still in line.) However, when we got out of town we could pick up the speed to an ass haulin’ 40 mph.
Unfortunately, there were only a few marked turns. So we had to navigate our own way through the maze of Fountain Hills. This is where the big groups started breaking away into smaller ones. From the initial 75 bikes that started in our group, about 10 of us pulled into the Casino at the same time. There we stopped to have a drink of water and watch the pensioners pump the one-armed bandits full of money.
Then it was off to Apache Junction and Superstition Harley Davidson. Even though we got off course and decided to make up time by taking the loop 202 to AJ, the event photographers still found us. After posing for are pictures at 75mph I promptly hit reserve and couldn’t find the valve on my borrowed Honda Magna. This forced me over for an unintended break on the side of the highway to get the bike rolling again. Fortunately, the Magna is pretty fast and I was able to catch up to the group at the off ramp and motion to pull in for gas. Between the gas station and Superstition Harley we lost eight more riders in the congestion and our group was down to two bikes. Though the group was smaller, the ride was faster and more fun.
Now, I got to go in and sit on every Harley in the shop. Some of the new styles are pretty cool. They are coming from the factory with flat paint jobs and low saturation colors which work well for the looks of these bikes. It looks like, dare I say it, chrome is on the way out of style? By now, we were expecting to find something to munch on at the stops, but I guess they just wanted to sell us Harley-Davidson shirts rather than hamburgers. So, we cut out of there after about half an hour to hit one of the best places to eat in AJ. That’s right, Whataburger. It’s a step up from McDonald’s, I guess, and a bacon cheeseburger hits the spot on a long ride.
From there we headed up to Saguaro lake via the Salt River Canyon. This is a nice ride through the valley between tall cliffs and periodic glimpses of a river twisting it’s way down to Phoenix. Since it was late in the day, we got stuck in lots of cage traffic. For some reason, it’s always someone from Alberta slowing down the show. (Anyone from Alberta, what’s up with that?) Despite the traffic, it was a perfect day in the canyon. In the summer, it can be unbearably hot but there was a nice breeze and the temperature wasn’t over 80 degrees.
Finally we pulled into the Saguaro lake marina as the event supporters were taking down the tents. I guess we lollygagged a little to long at one of the stops. They were, however, still in possession of lots of cold, bottled water which is exactly what we needed! A few more riders pulled in after us for a quick break at the lake and then turned around to get back on the road.
We decided to call it a day at Saguaro lake and went back up to the Beeline Highway and headed back to Phoenix in the gusting wind.
Overall it was a great day and a fun new experience in riding motorcycles. Best of all it was for a good cause operated by the Taser Foundation.
For more pictures of this ride check out the pictures section . If you would like to share your pictures from this ride, register and post them in your garage!